The 17-boat J/24 division will be the largest in St. Pete.
The Sperry Top-Sider St. Petersburg NOOD begins Friday, kicking off the 24th year of NOOD competition. I'll be covering entire eight-event NOOD series for SW, so I thought I'd start my journey by scoping out a few of the 11 divisions competing this weekend on Tampa Bay.
**Jim Chambers' Snow Fox won a tiebreaker with Edward Dixon's Tri-Power to take second place in 2010; it'll be interesting to see if these two boats rise to the top this year.
**With 17 boats pre-registered, the J/24s have the largest fleet in St. Pete, as usual. Heavy hitters in the division include local ace Robby Brown and former national and North American champion Mike Ingham, of Rochester, N.Y. Don't count out Paul Van Ravenswaay's millenium falcon team, which finished 11th at last year's nationals.
**This division has added a few boats since last year. Steve Beeler and Tom Vigrass's Frequent Flyer team returns to defend last year's victory, and David Flechsig's Rooster Tail promises to be right on their tail once again.
**A trio of Michigan-based teams make up the core of the Hobie 33 division. Steve Attard's Viva Las Vegas team hails from North Cape YC, while Scott Maust's Thunderbolt and Heather Bissell's HiTech represent Huron YC. Having traveled from the frozen tundra to compete in St. Pete, you know these teams will be hungry for some hardware.